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By Vivian Manning Schaffel

MOMLOGIC.COM- Grab yourself a lemonade and fire up the microwave popcorn: Baby Week rules Discovery Health each night this week starting at 8 PM ET/PT, with all-new shows centered around the rollercoaster-ride that is parenting.

“Postpartum Nightmares” (which airs Tuesday, 3/2, at 8 PM ET/PT) shows how postpartum depression can wreak havoc on one of life’s happiest events: the birth of a new baby. Featured expert Dr. Shoshana Bennett (“Dr. Shosh”) has herself survived two life-threatening, undiagnosed postpartum depressions, and says postpartum depression comes down on approximately one in seven new mothers. “Many researchers and practitioners feel the actual statistic is much higher than this, since many women suffer in silence and do not get diagnosed,” she says.

Believed to be caused by an abrupt shift of the reproductive hormones (mainly estrogen and progesterone) following delivery, postpartum depression can be brought on by trauma, isolation, sleep deprivation, inadequate nutrition and poor support. What’s more, the lines that divide typical new-mom anxiety from postpartum depression can blur a little. “It’s quite normal for a new mom to have an occasional scary thought,” says Dr. Shosh. “For instance, a normal new mother may once in a while envision something scary, such as accidentally driving off the side of the road with her baby in the car. Although there is no symptom with the specific name ‘postpartum nightmares,’ a mom with postpartum depression or anxiety may be plagued all day, every day with thoughts like these.”

The hope is that viewers who can relate — or the people who love them — will be encouraged to seek immediate treatment. “Those who are suffering will understand they are not alone,” says Dr. Shosh. “With proper help, postpartum depression and other related disorders are very treatable. But many symptoms require professional help.”

Next up: “Radical Parenting” (which airs Wednesday, 3/3, at 8 PM ET/PT). The show gives viewers a few “off-the-beaten-track” parenting techniques, as per show expert Dr. Jenn Berman, psychotherapist, mom of 3 1/2-year-old twins and author of the L.A. Times bestseller, “The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy, Confident Kids.”

“We are a generation that’s greatly influenced by our peers — even our online peers,” says Dr. Jenn. “This kind of openness is wonderful. We’re always looking for more information, do better and find solutions. To me, that is a real strength of this generation. Any parent could take bits and pieces from this show, and your family will be all the stronger for it.”

Of the parenting philosophies featured on the show, Dr. Jenn feels that a technique called “hands-off parenting” was the most radical. “It was really fascinating to watch,” she says. “[The parents] really try to follow their children’s passions. If one expresses an interest in dinosaurs, they take them to a museum, they get them books about dinosaurs. I found that to be really inspirational, and something that all parents could be doing.”

“Attachment parenting” is focused around touch; common practices include extended breastfeeding and cosleeping. “Most families at this point have had some exposure to attachment-parenting concepts, whether they realize it or not,” says Dr. Jenn. “‘The Attachment Parenting Book’ from the Sears family is a huge bestseller. [The family on ‘Radical Parenting’] just takes it to a little more of an extreme.”

Dr. Jenn also feels that parents will find the gender-neutral parenting segment enlightening. “Most parents are too quick to hand their boy a ball or their girl a doll, instead of exposing them to both things whether they’re male or female,” she says. “[This show] will make parents not only think about these things in relation to themselves, but about how other people relate to their kids in terms of gender.”

Compelling stuff, right? So tune in and see for yourself!

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